Idaho Cancer Advocates Host Virtual Week of Action in Support of Increasing Tobacco Taxes

January 25, 2021

Boise, Idaho—Cancer patients, survivors and volunteer advocates from across Idaho will meet virtually this week with state lawmakers for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Cancer Week of Action. During the virtual meetings, the advocates will urge their lawmakers to support a cigarette tax increase of $1.50 per pack with an equal tax increase on all other tobacco products including e-cigarettes.

Currently, Idaho has one of the lowest cigarette taxes in the nation at 57 cents per pack, and the state doesn’t tax e-cigarettes. Meanwhile, about 1,800 Idahoans die from smoking every year and youth e-cigarette use has reached epidemic levels with 22% of Idaho high schoolers using them. Making all tobacco products more expensive through significant tobacco tax increases is one of the most effective ways to prevent youth from starting and help adults quit. Additionally, people who smoke or used to smoke are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Public health projections from ACS CAN, the Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids and Tobacconomics show that a $1.50 per pack cigarette tax increase could save roughly 3,500 lives, help nearly 7,900 adults quit smoking and keep 5,300 kids under age 18 from starting to smoke. It will also benefit the state financially as the cigarette tax is projected to generate more than $55 million in new annual revenue. It is also estimated that this would save the state about $1.88 million in Medicaid costs during the first five years.

"While the pandemic means we cannot meet in person, cancer hasn’t stopped and neither have we. This virtual week of action is opportunity to tell our legislators that we are counting on them to help save lives from cancer, as well as reduce tobacco use and health care costs," said Randy Johnson, ACS CAN Idaho grassroots manager.

This year, an estimated 10,240 Idaho residents will be diagnosed with cancer and 3,230 residents will die from the disease. Smoking causes more than 23% of Idaho’s cancer deaths.

To learn more about ACS CAN in Idaho, visit


The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit


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